27 June 2002
Save Our Squadrons spokesman David Dickens today called on National to clarify its air combat force policy.
Yesterday National’s defence spokesman Richard Worth told the defence lobby group that “As an interim step the Skyhawks
should be re-commissioned”.
National’s leader Bill English said on June 15: “There is no possibility” of putting the Skyhawks back in the air as
they “don’t fly” and that they are “at the end of their life”.
Dickens said “For National’s policy to reconstitute the air combat force to be credible the Skyhawks must be put in the
air immediately after the election”.
Dickens added: “Four Skyhawks are already flying at Ohakea now. The cost of getting the rest in the air in a fully
operational state is approximately $20 million”.
Dickens said politicians claims that the Skyhawks are “clapped out” or “don’t fly” shows their ignorance of their own
country’s military affairs.
Dickens said the Skyhawks “were upgraded in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Their air frames were life-extended until
2006/7. They received a weapons upgrade that gave them a missile/bomb precision strike capacity and passive and active
air defence systems”. The strike capacity of a Skyhawk is similar to a Royal Air Force Jaguar.
Save Our Squadrons spokesman David Dickens can be contacted by phone at